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Correa Probably Regrets Authoring SB 183

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 3, 2015

An OC Political reader with a strong knowledge of recounts pointed out SB 183 (Correa, 2011) to me.  I had earlier written about the difficulty of getting new results in recounts in California.  SB 183 is the bill that made successful recounts virtually impossible.

Prior to SB 183, recount strategy typically relied on getting ballots tossed for identifiable marks, such as the infamous flower ballot of 2007.

Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) put an end to that with SB 183.  Identifiable marks no longer invalidated ballots.  Consequently, the only way a ballot can be tossed is if the voter voted for more candidates than were available on the ballot (e.g. two candidates for Supervisor, four candidates for three city council slots) or voted both yes and no on a ballot measure.  Even then, the whole ballot wouldn’t be tossed, just the race in which the voter overvoted.

With more accurate ballot counting software and SB 183, recounts of anything other than provisional ballots are almost pointless in California.  That’s why the Garden Grove mayoral recount had no vote changes, the State Controller recount had 8 vote changes statewide, etc.

As one friend suggested while I talked to her about this situation, perhaps Correa wrote SB 183 in 2011 expecting to narrowly lead in a future election and wanted to prevent a recount from overturning his result.  Instead, he found himself narrowly behind in 2015 and wasn’t able to overturn the result.

Correa’s SB 183 of 2011 was actually identical to SB 387 of 2009 by Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), which was vetoed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who

The provisions of this bill allowing elections officials to process ballots that contain extraneous non-identifying marks are acceptable; however, I am concerned that remaking a ballot that contains personal identifying information compromises ballot secrecy and increases the opportunity for fraud.

The only difference two years later for SB 183 (Correa) of 2011 versus SB 387 (Hancock) of 2009 was a new Governor, Jerry Brown.

The two key changes in SB 183 were for Elections Code Sections 15154 and 15208:

SB 183 modified Elections Code Section 15154 as follows:

Any ballot that is not marked as provided by law or that is marked or signed by the voter so that it can be identified by others shall be rejected.

SB 183 struck this sentence out of Elections Code Section 15208:

Any ballot that is marked in a manner so as to identify the voter shall be marked “Void” and shall be placed in the container for void ballots.

SB 183 also replaced the voter instruction “All distinguishing marks or erasures are forbidden and make the ballot void” and replaced it with “Marking the ballot outside of the designated space to vote for a candidate or measure may compromise the secrecy of the ballot.”

Promoted by Common Cause and now-disgraced Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Correa introduced SB 183 on February 7, 2011. It passed the Legislature on near-party-line votes (oddly, Assemblyman Chris Norby voted against it in Assembly Appropriations and for it 12 days later on the Assembly Floor).  Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 183 into law on October 9, 2011, and it took effect January 1, 2012.

9 Responses to “Correa Probably Regrets Authoring SB 183”

  1. Greg Diamond said

    Now-disgraced Secretary of State Debra Bowen?” Are you serious?

    She suffers from clinical depression that was aggravated by the collapse of her marriage and a bitter divorce. She has faced (mostly anonymous) sniping about the operation of her office during this time, but credibly maintains that the office was adequately managed even when she was working from her temporary lodging in a — GASP! — mobile home.

    What precisely do you find “disgraceful” — that her marriage collapsed, that she went to live in a mobile home, that she suffered from intensified clinical depression as a result, or that various people sniped at her that the SoS office wasn’t run the way that THEY think it should have been run?

    Bowen did fine in office and, as those of us who follow her on Facebook know, is still sharp as a tack and optimistic as her nasty divorce gets resolved. If you want “disgraced,” I’ll grant you Ron Calderon as an example; Arnold Schwarzenegger too. (Mimi Walters would be “now-disgraced” too if our District Attorney wasn’t disgraceful.)

    Despite my opposed political views, I usually like this blog quite a bit, but this was nasty and gratuitous. As we lefties sometimes say: “check your privilege.” Bowen is one of the smartest and, critically, most honest and ethical statewide leaders we’ve had in recent years; her political career may be over, but she can still hold her head high.

  2. Monica Cortez said

    With respect to the previous poster, he has NO IDEA about what he is talking about. Bowens tenure was one of complete and utter disarray. Staffers were routinely sent to “track her down”. She was a hopped up mess. I am glad she is out of office and can concentrate on her health. She is a kind woman.

    While not wanting to pile on, Greg Diamond should know the collapse of her marriage was not the cause of her depression, rather her marriage collapsed because of her illness. Non of that matters, she at a point became unable to perform her duties (well she did in in her office!).

    Perhaps the commenter should be more concerned that Correa took credit for a bill clearly underwritten by some special interest, that was thrown to him with a check or a threat that basically said “PASS THIS”. In other words, Bowen may have been crazy, but Lou was a Wh0re.

    • Greg Diamond said

      I’m not going to start defending Lou Correa now. He has plenty of Republicans available to do that.

      I don’t know you, Monica, nor how you come by the insider information that you claim to have — seriously, were you sleeping in the same room as her and her spouse, to know which came first? — but I see little reason to put stock in it.

      I’ve heard all sorts of vile things said about her, some of which I’ve found to be untrue. She’s foremost a policy wonk, and she implemented some excellent reforms in her office such as online registration. She also hired good people who could take of much of the day-by-day operations — which is entirely legitimate given her ability to focus on far-sighted policy.

      As an observer over her terms in office, I trace her decline to the vicious and baseless attacks on her over supposed anti-Jewish sentiments that were leveled against her by Janet Hahn’s campaign to replace Jane Harman in Congress. They seemed to take her by surprise and, when they succeeded in their cynical ends, left her wounded. Everyone involved in dreaming up and executing those attacks should live in lasting shame.

      In any event, I’ll stand by my assention that Chris’s description of her was both inaccurate and far out of line. You go on believing what you will.

      • Truck Drivin' Mike said

        Who is Janet Hahn?

        • Greg Diamond said

          Hey, nameless/kenlaysnotdead/carpetbagger/RobertDarley — please stop swiping the name of the longtime Orange Juice Blog commenter who for some time now has been using the name “truck drivin’ mike” (note the lack of capital letters). You’re doing this to create confusion and, unfortunately, to some degree it is working. The person who has been using this pseudonym for a while is pissed off about it — and, unlike me, he’s wealthy enough to hire Liam Neeson to use his very particular set of skills to find you.

          As for who Janet Hahn is — you have your choice of using Wikipedia, Google, or another fine search engine near you.

          • TruckDrivinMikeWith CAPS said

            Paranoia setting in Greg???

            Surprised you are up this early.

            I am None of the above…..But wait. I thought you previously said “I have No Idea” who Truck Drivin’ Mike is.

            Maybe I am a figment of your clouded imagination, maybe I am Jose Solorio, just too much of a “COWARD” in your words to use my own name.

            Or maybe….just maybe……I am truck drivin’ mike.

            Her name is Janice (at least to most of us).

            • Greg Diamond said

              I can’t imagine that the Chrises want us to continue this repartee here. Briefly: your style and your peculiar obsessions give you away. I know that you aren’t the real TDM because I asked him, online, and he was affronted that a pseudonymous identity thief like you was out there. As with you, I don’t know his real name, but over time I’ve learned quite a bit about him — such that while he’s conservative and contrarian, he’s also smart, funny, and usually gracious.

              Chrises — I apologize for continuing this here. I don’t know whether you, like us at OJB, have a commenting policy that bars anonymous attacks on others following complaints; if you do, I hope that you’ll apply it here. Anonymous attacks have been the bane of OC political blogging since its inception. The problem with them is exemplified here: you can take action against me for participating in a brawl here, but not my masked opponent — and even if you ban his name and IP address he’ll just come back in another guise. All that can possibly work is moral censure and vigilance.

  3. Truck Drivin' Mike said

    Wait…..I am Truck Drivin’ Mike.

    Or wait.. I thought anonymous political comentary was taboo.

    Aw heck. That Carpetbagger/KenLay/Mayor Quimby fella is just Art Pedroza in disguise. Thats what “red vixen” told me…….

    • Greg Diamond said

      Mayor Quimby, better known as Gus Ayer, died two years ago. The others aren’t Art Pedroza, but someone with ties to both Santa Ana and Brea. But I really don’t want to take up more of this blog’s space to address your business. Just letting people who read both blogs know that you’re not the recognizable (and often quite funny) poster with the name that they may have seen on Orange Juice Blog.

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